Independents Biennial kicks off in style with 200 artists across Merseyside

Photo: Tony Knox

– 200 artists and over 250 new works for the Independents Biennial

– Special commissions in St Helens, Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley & Liverpool for 4 month festival

200 artists from Liverpool and the UK are exhibiting work across 70 locations in the city region for the Independents Biennial. Now in its 20th year, the sister festival to Liverpool Biennial has 5 special commissions and exhibitions celebrating grassroots and emerging artists.

Venues include St John’s Market in Liverpool, where there is an artist’s hub and special exhibitions, the former George Henry Lee’s in Liverpool city centre, Red Brick Vintage, Output Gallery, Corke Art Gallery, Kirkby Art Gallery, and many more. The festival programme shines a spotlight on independent visual arts talent, with open studio events, special exhibitions, performances and more across the four months.

Photo: Tony Knox

Each of the special commissions will take place in key locations across Merseyside, including Williamson Art Gallery, Rimrose Valley in Sefton and in St Helens town centre. Working in new and existing arts spaces, with a largely free programme, the festival will offer a fresh perspective on how we see, make and use art in Merseyside.

The commissioned artists and special festival events include;

Photo: Tony Knox

Brigitte Jurack, Williamson Art Gallery, Wirral

Jurack will create a sculpture for the Green Gallery, a new space at the Williamson. Inspired by Oxton Road, one of the most culturally diverse roads in Wirral, the multi coloured and richly patterned rock will be bright and glossy, reflecting the multicultural nature of the street itself. Home to a much loved Iranian fruit seller, K&K, a Thai food store, Polish International food shops, a popular record store, Skeleton, hardware, model making and electronic shops, Oxton Road is a bustling independent network.

Kate Hodgson, St Helens

With an interest in print as a democratic art form, Hodgson’s work takes messages out of the confines of the gallery, and explores how print and performance can bring artwork to the people. In her most recent work, she poked fun at slogan t-shirts, with absurd messages designed to disseminate pointless information. For this commission she will respond to St Helens 150 year anniversary with a series of pop-up print workshops where artists, creatives and residents will invited to make screen prints for t-shirts, posters, tote bags and tea towels celebrating the town’s rich industrial past. Hodgson is one of the artistic directors at The Royal Standard.

Cath Garvey, Knowsley

Comic artist and illustrator, Cath Garvey will lead workshops in Knowsley that aim to empower young girls, while teaching the skills to create a unique character and printing their own comics. The workshops, Girl Comics, will run as a series, starting with words taken from local dialect and driven towards an exhibition of comics created by the young women of Knowsley.

Photo: Tony Knox

Rimrose Valley, an environmental art trail, Bootle, Sefton

Currently under threat with plans for a proposed expressway, Rimrose Valley is a strip of green space in the heart of Sefton. A collective of artists will create a site specific series of works using eco-friendly materials to be on display for the duration of the festival.

Photo: Tony Knox

St John’s Market

In Liverpool, a series of emerging and recently graduated artists from RCA, LJMU and Liverpool Hope alongside artists and writers from Urban Sketchers and ROOT-ed Zine will takeover empty units in St John’s Market, the bustling undercover market in the heart of the city centre.

George Henry Lees

In George Henry Lees, which once housed the famous department store, will host three floors of exhibitions alongside a pop up cinema.

About Indepenednts Biennial 2018


14th July – 28th October, 2018

Over 250 news works, including five festival commissions, and more than 200 individual events will see communities come alive in celebration of the region’s creative life.

Working in new and existing arts spaces, with an entirely free programme, the festival will offer a fresh perspective on how we see, make and use art in Merseyside.